Congressional hearing to focus on entrepreneurs, mobile medical apps

The House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology will hold a hearing on June 27 to highlight entrepreneurs creating healthcare apps, according to the subcommittee's announcement.

"Entrepreneurs are creating groundbreaking mobile apps to help empower consumers to make better health care decisions, allow patients to access critical health data at any time and anywhere and guide physicians to diagnose or monitor potential conditions," wrote Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health and Technology, in a June 20 hearing notice to subcommittee members. 

In the notice, Collins cited a study that found that 78 percent of the top app developers are small businesses. "These apps, providing 500,000 jobs and nearly $25 billion in revenue, are also helping to grow the economy," he said. 

The hearing, titled Mobile Medical App Entrepreneurs: Changing the Face of Health Care, will include testimony from AirStrip CEO Alan Portela, Ideomed CEO Keith Brophy and Dr. Christopher Burrow, executive vice president of medical affairs for Humetrix. In addition, Sabrina Casucci, a Ph.D candidate in industrial and systems engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, will also testify before the subcommittee.

"After nearly a decade of developing and deploying industry-leading healthcare mobility solutions, AirStrip can offer experience-based insight into the role of government in the mHealth market," said AirStrip's Portela in a written statement. "Regulatory guidance can effectively ensure the privacy and security of mobile health solutions on behalf of all patients while enabling innovation that improves quality of care."

In a March hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came under fire for being slow to finalize the agency's draft guidance for mobile medical applications (MMA), which critics charge remain unclear and unpredictable. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), vice chairman of the subcommittee, said in the hearing that "uncertainty of pending regulation" from the FDA is a major obstacle to innovation and investment in the mobile healthcare industry. 

The FDA released draft MMA guidance in July 2011 and will issue its final guidance by the end of fiscal year 2013.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- read the hearing notice